Posted in prophecy, theology

Petra, Jordan, and God’s Mighty Love

By Elizabeth Prata

This essay first appeared on The End Time in July 2010. It has been lightly edited.

Jordan and Israel’s relationship during the Tribulation is an interesting one. In researching, I learned that Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab nations to have normalized relations with Israel. Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel was signed in 1994 with President Bill Clinton as mediator, between Hussein I of Jordan and Yitzhak Rabin of Israel. King Hussein, of the Hashemite dynasty, died in 1999, and his designated son King Abdullah II became King. King Hussein had guided his country through the Cold War and four decades of Arab-Israeli conflict, balancing the pressures of Arab nationalism and the allure of Western-style development against the stark reality of Jordan’s geographic location. He worked throughout his life to advance the cause of peace between Jordan and Israel (which he successfully achieved in 1994). (Source Wikipedia). Above, Petra, the Rose-red city.) That peace will be broken, and soon.

Between 1999 and 2019 relations between Israel and Jordan have maintained the same level of respect and courtesy. However, that has to change, because Jordan is listed among the nations that attack Israel during the Psalm 83 war.

With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you- the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre. Even Assyria has to lend strength to the descendants of Lot.” (Psalm 83:5-8). Edom, Moab and Ammon are today’s Jordan. Ammon is the capital.

Yet…Jordan is one place the antichrist is not able to overcome. “He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand.” (Daniel 11:41)

And…Petra in Jordan is the likeliest place the Jews flee to when the antichrist begins his persecution, and it is the likely place where they remain in safety, protected by God during the Great Tribulation and led out by Him to Jerusalem at the conclusion of the Day of the LORD. (Isaiah 63:1-6).

Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.” (Revelation 12:6).

When Jesus was speaking with the disciples in His Olivet Discourse, from that vantage point, the ‘wilderness’ was to their east and over the mountains. That is the direction of Petra, which is to the south and east of Jerusalem just below the Dea Sea.

But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.” (Revelation 12:14)

So it appears that though peace has held between Israel and Jordan for over two decades, something will change to cause Jordan to pile on in the Psalm 83 war and attack Israel in the time of the very end. However, Jordan will remain intact enough so that the antichrist will not overcome her as the verse above in Daniel 11:41 shows.

Jordan’s full name is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The Hashemites trace their ancestry from Hashim ibn Abd al-Manaf (died c. 510 AD), the great-grandfather of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The early history of the Hashemites saw them in a continuous struggle against the Umayyads for control over who would be the caliph (successor) to Muhammad. The Umayyads were of the same tribe as the Hashemites, but a different clan. This rivalry eventually would lead to the split between the Sunni and Shia. (Wikipedia). And we see the tension between the ever-widening split beteen Sunni and Shia Muslims today.

It may be why the “Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” commands so much respect in the Arab world. Today Hashemites have spread in many places where Muslims have ruled, namely Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran. Above, the cleft in the rock to Petra, at places only 9-12 feet wide.

The second curious thing is that Petra is also known as Sela, which means rock. It is referred to in Judges 1:36; Isaiah 16:1, Is 42:11; Obad. 3 where Petra is known as the “cleft in the rock”.

Petra is also known as Bozrah, which means sheepfold. Sheepfold or sheep pen is an enclosure designed with overhangs or other protection from the elements, and is solid enough to keep the sheep in and the wild animals out. It always has one narrow gate for entry. Bozrah is the perfect sheepfold! Our Shepherd Jesus will protect His remnant during the Great Tribulation, and mamny think that place will be at Bozrah, the sheepfold, the Cleft in the Rock.

It is there He definitely returns at the Second Coming and becomes stained with blood of the armies attempting to wipe out the remnant, and leads them to victory at Mt. Olive as His feet land there. (Zechariah 14:4).

God’s Vengeance on the Nations
Who is this who comes from Edom,
With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah,
This One who is majestic in His apparel, Marching in the greatness of His strength?
“It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?
“I have trodden the wine trough alone,
And from the peoples there was no man with Me
I also trod them in My anger And trampled them in My wrath;
And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments,
And I stained all My raiment.
(Isaiah 63:1-3)

In John 14:3 He promised His church that “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am“. All this time He has been preparing a place for the church believers. He also has prepared a place for His people, the Jews, to reside in during the Tribulation in protection and safety. He is a God who cares for His people.

And that is a mighty thing indeed. Hallelujah to the One True and Mighty God, who prepares for His people a place!

Posted in prophecy, theology

What are the Seven Thunders of Revelation?

By Elizabeth Prata

*The answer to the question I posed in the title is, “I don’t know. No one knows.”

100_2097moon at sunset pixlr red sky
EPrata photo

The Seven Thunders seem to be a part of the series of judgments in the Book of Revelation. I say “seem to be” because the words were not allowed to be written down, so we cannot be sure that they specifically are judgments. However, coming in sequence after the Seal and Trumpet judgments, and before the Bowl judgments, it seems that the mysterious Thunders may be judgments as too.

Given that thunder is the voice of God in judgment, it seems to further the notion that these mysteriously sealed instructions may be judgments.

John MacArthur wrote of the Seven Thunders in his book Because the Time is Near:

The seven peals of thunder did not merely make a loud noise, but communicated information that John was about to write. In obedience to God’s commands, John had already written much of what he saw in his visions. Later in Revelation, John would once again be commanded to write what he saw in his visions. (14:13; 19:9; 21:5).
But before John could record the message of the seven peals of thunder, he heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.”Whether the voice was that of the Father, or Jesus Christ, or an angel is not revealed. The command, however, clearly originated with God. The reason John was forbidden to record the message is not revealed. It may be that the judgments were simply too terrifying to be recorded. Any speculation as to the content of their message is pointless. If God wanted it to be known, He would not have forbidden John to write it. They are the only words in the book of Revelation that are sealed.

Let’s focus in on the “too terrifying” part of the reasoning here. In all the apocalyptic movies I’ve ever seen specifically related to the Tribulation, they are all uniformly sanitized. In other words, the horrific reality of the Tribulation as depicted in the Bible’s Book of Revelation has been visually watered down to be as non-reflective of the reality of a cellophane wrapped hamburger meat at Publix is compared to the blood, filth and messiness of a low-rent butchery. And even that is not reflective of the reality of what is coming.

The non-Christian apocalyptic movies movies I’ve seen, Threads, The War Game, and It’s A Disaster, were harrowing and soul-slaying. Their real depiction of nuclear or nerve gas apocalypse stayed with me for a long time. The War Game was commissioned by the BBC to specificaly illustrate the horrors of nuclear war and the BBC Board found the movie too realistic to be released. For thirty years itlanguished in a closet. Yet even that film doesn’t go the distance of what the reality of the Tribulation will be like in terms of nuclear horror and death. People just do not understand what it really means when Jesus promised it to be a time of distress exceeding even the time of the Flood. (Matthew 24:21). And remember, that was a time when everybody on earth horribly died. (Except 8 people).

So here is Oliver B. Greene in his Verse-By-Verse Study of Revelation, on the Seven Thunders’ terror:

Thunder is the voice of the Lord in judgment (I Samuel 7:10, Psalm 18:13). The seven thunders “uttered their voices.” (John assumes that the readers already have Some knowledge of these seven thunders.) In Revelation 4:2, 3 John saw a throne encircled by a rainbow, and here in chapter ten we see the same rainbow. In Revelation 4 John saw upon the throne One who was to look upon as a jasper and a sardine stone, and “out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices.” In chapter 10, we have the same thunder, sounding out a message of God’s fury and judgment.

The seven thunders are the judgment thunders from the throne of God. When the Lion of the Tribe of Judah roars, as on the eve of bounding forth upon His prey, the seven thunders utter their roaring voices as in full sympathy and agreement with what is about to proceed in righteous vengeance and holy fury from the throne of eternal majesty. Personality is attributed to these “seven thunders.” Everything is in sympathy with the Lamb of God. These mighty thunders utter messages that are intelligible . . . they speak words. John heard what they said – and when the time comes in reality, the seven thunders will speak literal words that earth’s dwellers will fully understand. It will be a message in tones of thunder. We use a public address system to amplify voices when we want to be heard – but God needs no amplification. He can speak like mighty thunder – and He WILL when the time comes!

At the beginning of these marvelous visions, John was commanded to write in a book what he saw and heard – past, present and future. But when the thunders spoke, John was given another command. He was about to write – but a voice from Heaven said: “Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not!” The seven thunders must have given a terrible message. Already set before us are blood, tears, famine, heartache and heartbreak; killing, misery, hail, fire, burning mountains, demon monstrosities, men begging to die and unable to do so. Surely what John was forbidden to write must have been beyond human imagination and understanding! There is no need to speculate on what the thunders said. Your guess is as good as mine; but you may rest assured that the message had to do with God’s last gigantic, unheard of, indescribable judgment, when God “lowers the boom” in utter destruction.

Will YOU be on earth when the seven thunders speak? You are the only one who can answer that question. If you are born again you will NOT be here – but if you are not born again, you may be here. Read John 1:11-12, 3:16-18, 3:36, 5:24; Romans 10:9-10, 10:13, 10:17; Ephesians 2:8-9; I John 1:9. Read these verses, hear what they say; receive them – and you will not be here when the seven thunders utter their message of destruction. You will be with Jesus.

Imagine a message that exceeds the terror and blood of all that had already previously been spoken. Or if that was not the case, imagine a message that was so tremendously powerful it needed to be sealed from our tender brains until the moment they would be spoken during the Tribulation.

Prophecy is supposed to motivate us to witness, and yet the reality of the judgments of souls in rebellion to God is omitted from the message of the Good News. How terrible that it’s omitted so often these days, when the days are coming that many will be living it!

May this essay motivate you to read Revelation, to pray for wisdom and understanding of the coming days, to receive the promised blessing for having read it,, and for its words to be a catalyst in your heart for the lost who are under that very “boom” Greene mentioned, soon to be lowered…

*This essay first appeared on The End Time in January 2016

Posted in end time, theology

Daniel’s 70 weeks and Tribulation explanations

I can’t wait to see what you all look like when you are glorified! I can’t wait to see the glassy sea, the angels who have helped me, the face of Jesus! I can’t wait to be free from pain and shed of my sin nature. I can’t wait to be in eternity! However, I will await His timing. We all must await the number of our days to be up and His determination of when we enter glory. More on that below.

The Tribulation is prophesied to be a period where many things will happen. One of them is that the earth and heavens themselves will be wildly disrupted. Landforms disappear. Weather patterns evaporate. Orbits cease. And more.

The outline of what Jesus will be doing at that time is presented to us in Daniel 9:24. The Lord will do 6 things:

“Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city,
1. To finish the transgression,
2. To make an end of sins,
3. To make reconciliation for iniquity,
4. To bring in everlasting righteousness,
5. To seal up vision and prophecy,
6. And to anoint the Most Holy.”

Notice several things. First, it is a period where though the times will seem chaotic, it will actually be orderly. It is all in control of God. The three series of 7-judgments apiece (Seals, Trumpets, Bowls; perhaps four sets if the Seven Thunders of Revelation 10:3-4 are actually judgments) will be delivered in orderly fashion. The judgments unleash chaos, but their deliverance is orderly and controlled.

The Tribulation is the time for it all to come to the conclusion that God exists, He is angry with sinners, and to repent. So it will be a time of demonstrable wrath and the conclusion of the 6 things. In further orderliness, He stopped His prophetic timetable clock at 483 years. In Daniel 9:24a the angel declared to Daniel it would be 7X70 or 7 bundles of 7’s (a shavuim). But nowhere was it promised to be 490 consecutive years! But they should have known that, because the interruption was stated. In Daniel 9:25-26, a mere verse later, the angel told Daniel that after seven sevens and 62 sevens, Messiah will be cut off (vernacular for died) and the people of the prince who is to come (antichrist) shall destroy the city.

Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem was 483 years to the day and then the clock stopped. Since then, Jesus has been taking 2000 years to build His church. When the church reaches His quota of people inhabiting it, (Romans 11:25) He will snatch us away from this earth, and He will finish that last 7 years of the prophesied 70 weeks and accomplish the rest of the 6 things.

The angel also explained to Daniel that it is a time when God directs His attention to “your people” and “your holy city” (Jerusalem). That does not mean He isn’t paying attention to non-believers or non-Jews during the Tribulation, or that nothing will happen to them during the Tribulation. Not at all. Jeremiah 30:7 calls it the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, though, and its point is for the LORD to finish His promises to His people. #1 is to finish the transgression, and #2 says He will make an end to sins. This making an end to sins is an even that will affect everyone on the planet. God always sees the world through the lens of His people the Jews and through the central location of the Holy City. But all the world will be affected.

In addition, note the progression of the 6 things on the list. At the beginning, He allows the transgression to have its full expression. By the end, the Most Holy is anointed. The Most Holy is Jesus. Ahhh, what a day that will be! The Tribulation is the cap-stone to the final age of man where He allows the total outcome of rejection of the Holy Spirit to take its full course. Like in Noah’s day, where all of man’s thoughts were only evil continually, (Gen 6:5) so it shall be again at the end of days (Matthew 24:37). But in the Tribulation, man will actually act out all his evil in his heart, it won’t remain there. He who holds back lawlessness will be taken out of the way (2 Thessalonians 2:7) ,another way of saying He will release His restraining hold against sin.)

Can you even imagine how drastic that time period will be? Just as we can’t imagine in our finite mind the full scale of His glory in heaven, we cannot imagine that bottomless, putrid pit in which sin flows forth. /shudder/. Better to not think of it.

The Daniel 9:26 verse also promises that the end will come like a flood. This does not mean that there will be a flood of actual waters as in the first global judgment. He promised Noah that he would never drown the world again. (Gen 9:13). However, as part of the cataclysmic geo-physical upheavals during the Tribulation there will be floods and tides and hurricanes and tsunamis. However, the verse uses figurative language.The Hebrew word in Dan 9:26 is “sheteph; from shataph; a deluge (literally or figuratively) — flood, outrageous, overflowing.” He means that SIN will have its outrageous overflowing.

This flood language mirrors the language in Revelation 12:15. Midway through the Tribulation, the antichrist tears up the peace treaty he had confirmed with the Jews at the beginning of the Tribulation. He then persecutes them with all unholiness and evil. He goes after the Jews with an evil vengeance that makes the WWII Holocaust look like a picnic. Rev 12:15 says- “And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood.” Satan pours out his evil and sin flows over the world like a flood.

Floods have waters that rise, and rise and rise, eventually washing away all that is in its path. Even tsunamis which travel at jet speeds have waters that flow and rise accordingly. The end began when Jesus ascended, but it has been 2000 years and we can see that the flood waters of sin are not lapping at our toes…are not sweeping against our waists…but the flood waters of sin seem like they are actually crashing over our heads by this point in time. It is like the famous photo of the lighthouse and its keeper

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But we are not destined for wrath! (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Though sin tries to engulf us, it will not prevail against His church! (Matthew 16:18). Notice where the keeper is: INSIDE the Lighthouse. Would you want to be anywhere else when the wages of sin try to engulf you? No. You would not survive that wave. You would not survive the hidden reefs under the wave. (Jude 1:12). Being in the Lighthouse is the only safe place to be, in ages past and in this present age. Blessedly, Jesus removes His bride from the earth before the Tribulation begins. We are not condemned, nor will we be punished for sins that He forgave us for. It will be the unbelieving world who will suffer the consequences of their rejection of the Savior.

Jude says, the unbelievers and apostates are “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” (Jude 1:12).

Peter says, “These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.” (2 Peter 2:17).

Isaiah says, “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud.” (Isaiah 57:20).

What of us, individually? His word says that Hades will not prevail against His church. Some days, though, sin prevails against me. What about you? Each of us struggles against sin every day. Some days it truly feels like it will engulf me. Here is the remedy: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).

We are Light keepers, and our job is never more important than during the storm! We are in Christ as THE Light, but we keep His word hidden in our hearts. We are ambassadors of His glory and His truths. We keep His commands. We keep His flame alive on earth by staying in Him and close to Him. It is important to be brighter during the storm and so let us be bright, by being full of peace and joy in these stormy times. Let the waves crash! We have the eternal Strength of the Light. Let others see, and hear the Good News, and come to Him.

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Prophecy thoughts

Here are various thoughts on prophecy from me.

When men misuse the teachings of the Savior for their own evil ends it is a heinous thing to watch. It is written, “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;” (2 Peter 2:12).

God means what He says. He will not be used, abused, or mocked.

Apostasy is a brutal condition, far worse than most Christians think.

—————————–

Often, the bible will predict owls to come to roost on places that are waste places, or ruins, or uninhabited. Same with vultures and eagles. The picture that had formed in my mind of reading the articles related to the snowy owls coming to roost silently all over the US was the verse of the angel at the end of the Tribulation calling the birds to feast on the dead. It is called The Great Supper of God

And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God,” Rev 19:17.

This moment is after Jesus bursts back onto earth on a white horse with His saints following, and slays all those hundreds of millions assembled at the battle of Armageddon. The angel then calls to the birds to come eat the dead.

Ezekiel 39:17 at the end of the Gog-Magog war depicts God’s use of His birds

Son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Call out to every kind of bird and all the wild animals: ‘Assemble and come together from all around to the sacrifice I am preparing for you, the great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel. There you will eat flesh and drink blood.”

—————————–

No matter how serious the news is, His constancy, His sovereignty, His plan, and His ways are Good. Even if you feel you do not have much to praise Him for, you DO! Seek ways to thank Him. He is active in our lives to the n-th degree. Nothing escapes His hand, from the most high work of salvation of souls, to the smallest sparrow’s needs. How much more, then, are YOU valuable to Him? (Matthew 6:25-26)

—————————–

Despite the Great Tribulation to come for the Jews, for the Middle East, for all those left behind who delayed their decision to repent and were not raptured, the LORD is merciful! He saves His people personally, from the first day to the last days invading Gog-Magog coalition. He says He will send mercy upon the Jews, look at this verse-

I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.” (Ezekiel 39:29)

He will pour out His spirit. POUR. Not ration it out. Not mete it out. Not distribute it. Not send it. Not give it. POUR it. When you pour something it means “To stream or flow continuously or profusely.” The Hebrew word in use here means translated, “to gush”. That is what I mean by the LORD being merciful. He gives so freely, so copiously. He is good and gracious. He has not forgotten His people the Jews, nor will He forget His sheep living now on a fallen earth with terrible sins all around.

—————————–

JESUS IS COMING SOON! He has always been imminent. I pray you live with that imminence in your heart and mind.

Brethren, examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5.

It would be devastating to fail the test. How do you know that you are in the faith?

Because you are sensitive to sin.

Because when you are tested, your faith grows stronger, not weaker.

Because you bear forth fruit

How to detect a false conversion

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Bible Reading Plan thought for the day: They came to present themselves

job 1 thursday verse.jpg

Satan fell. (Isaiah 14:12, Ezekiel 28:11-19). We do not know when, because the timeline for God’s creation of the universe and all its beings (including angels) is not specifically mentioned in scripture. We know that they were already created when God created the world, because they praised God for it. (Job 38:6-8). We know none of them had fallen by the conclusion of the sixth day when God saw all that he had made, and declared it very good.

By the time Genesis 3 came, though, satan was a fallen, evil, sinful creature. Revelation strongly intimates that he caused a third of his cohorts to fall with him. (Revelation 12:4).

However as we see from today’s verses in the Bible Reading Plan, satan and his cohorts to this day still have access to heaven. They still appear to God. They still stalk the heavenlies and strut in the holy place. God allows this for His sovereign purposes. In another example separate from today’s, we see that God used a lying spirit to deceive Ahab, (2 Chronicles 18:18-22). Satan and hsi demons come and go in heaven.

One day, and what a day that will be, God will SHUT the door of heaven and satan and his third of hosts will not be granted access to heaven any longer. This will occur in the Great Tribulation, as depicted in Revelation 12:7-17. In fact, this rejection enrages the devil so much that he redoubles his efforts to overcome God’s people and His kingdom. The persecutions and evil events already occurring on earth at that time turn to massive and horrific evil as many millions of believers are martyred. Revelation 12 again.

Whether satan is presenting himself before God in heaven or tormenting His people on earth, whether it is the Great Tribulation or just nowadays, God is fully in control. You see in the verses in Job that God set limits to satan’s actions, and satan adhered to them.

God is sovereign, and if you are a believer in Him, with the Holy Spirit in us as a seal of His guarantee of redemption and eternal life, you have already overcome the devil- because Jesus did.

He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:15)

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

God is faithful to his Gospel

The Great Tribulation is a time prophesied to occur in the future, where God will pour out His stored-up wrath on the unbelieving world, and onto Israel. The church will have been raptured prior to the beginning of this 7-year period. (Revelation 3:10). The church is not under wrath, but our sins have been forgiven. In us there is no condemnation, that’s why we will be removed beforehand.

The Tribulation is not the general time between His first and second comings where believers will have the promised trials and persecutions. The tribulation is a distinct time referenced as THE Tribulation. It will exist for a set purpose, certain things will happen in an progressive fashion (as prophesied in Revelation 6-18 and elsewhere) and it will cease at its end to usher in a 1000 year kingdom on earth of peace where Jesus walks and reigns with His people. (Revelation 20:2-7, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8, Daniel 9:24-27, Matthew 24:3-28…)

During this Tribulation, it will be a hell on earth, literally. The abyss is opened and many chained up demons are let out to wreak havoc. (Revelation 9:1-12). It’s a time when God’s 4 sorest judgments will occur. He releases 4 horsemen to have their fill of death and chaos and sin and evil wrought upon the people. It will be a time of punishment, vengeance, retribution, and wrath. Many millions upon billions die. (Revelation 6:8, Revelation 9:15).

Before I get to my main point, let’s turn aside for a comment. People incorrectly view the God of the Bible as a split personality. There’s the God of the Old Testament who is wrathful, and the Jesus of the New Testament who is nice. Jesus “hung out with sinners” and spoke the Beatitudes, after all.

God is God and He changeth not. In the OT He rendered wrath, but He was also compassionate and kind. I can give many examples. He spoke gently to Hagar in the wilderness. He sent angels to feed and comfort Elijah. He answered Habakkuk’s complaints gently. He gave Hannah the son she prayed for. He spoke to Moses as a friend. And so on.

In the NT, God is kind but He is also wrath. Wrath is mentioned many times in the NT. It’s mentioned in Matthew, Luke, John, Romans, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, Hebrews, and most of all, 11 times in Revelation, where Jesus is rendering it or ordering His angels to deliver it. If you read the Jesus of Revelation, there exists no sissified, needy Jesus at all. He never existed. THAT Jesus is a figment of man’s imagination.

Now to the point, despite the horrors of The Tribulation, despite the wrath and death and chaos and sin, God still seeks souls. He saves. He saves many, multitudes one cannot number! They are saved from every language and nation and tribe and tongue! His grace abounds even in wrath.

By what process does He save?

1. His Two Prophets. Their story is contained in a Revelation 11:3-13. Their ministry begins:

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.

They preach in Jerusalem and according to prophecy, it’s for a set number of days. People will try to kill them. Those who hate the LORD will hate their message of sin and wrath and judgment. But while they are prophesying God’s word on earth during the allotted number of days, nothing can harm them. As a matter of fact, they can spew fire and kill those who try to kill them. (Revelation 11:5). When the allotted number of days is up, they will be successfully killed. (Revelation 11:7). Their bodies will lie in the street for three days, and the world rejoices that their devastating message will have been silenced, or so the world thinks. They are resurrected and ascend to heaven before the world’s astonished face. (Revelation 11:11-12).

The result is that for 1,260 days the world hears two indestructible witnesses preach the everlasting gospel to the world, whether they want it or not.

The 144,000.

Their story is contained in Revelation 7:3-8 and Revelation 14:1-5. God plucks 12,000 from each Jewish Tribe as His firstfruits of Gospel salvation in their Messiah. Though none of the verses explicitly say that the men from the 144,000 evangelize, it’s highly likely that they are agents of the Gospel. The fact that they are chosen, sealed from harm during the judgments indicates that they have work to do. One’s relief and joy in Christ always yields a loosened tongue to proclaim His glories. How much more so in the Wrath? Also, the very next scene after they are saved and sealed, we see multitudes of redeemed from the earth. Imagine 144,000 Apostle Pauls running around, lol. People are going to be saved.

The Three Angels at Midheaven.

Their story is in Revelation 14:6-11, but the first angel in verses 6-7 is the one who proclaims the eternal Gospel to the entire world, every nation, tongue, tribe, and people.  Every. One. Hears.

What a God we serve! He pursues even as He concludes the last moments of His Age.

ecclesiastes

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Prophecy: They sang the song of Moses in Exodus AND Revelation

When the Israelites were miraculously delivered from their bondage to the Egyptians, they sang a song of praise. This is known as the Song of Moses. It’s an ode to the one True God, who is all-powerful. The Israelites, led by Moses and Aaron, knew that God was God. They knew who He is.

He is a man of war, who smites enemies. He is a God of wrath,  and power, and salvation. He does wonders that make His people tremble. He is King of Kings, who dismays the kings of the earth. He is mighty. He is to be exalted.

Please read this wonderful song.

The Song of Moses, Exodus 15:1-18

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
2 The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3 The Lord is a man of war;
the Lord is his name.
4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea,
and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea.
5 The floods covered them;
they went down into the depths like a stone.
6 Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power,
your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.
7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries;
you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble.
8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up;
the floods stood up in a heap;
the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.
I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’
10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them;
they sank like lead in the mighty waters.
11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
12 You stretched out your right hand;
the earth swallowed them.
13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;
you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
14 The peoples have heard; they tremble;
pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia.
15 Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed;
trembling seizes the leaders of Moab;
all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.
16 Terror and dread fall upon them;
because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone,
till your people, O Lord, pass by,
till the people pass by whom you have purchased.
17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain,
the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode,
the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.
18 The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

You might recall the ten plagues of Egypt that God placed on Pharaoh and his people. They were step-for-step dethronings of the Egyptian gods. God demonstrated He is the One True God with power over all the false gods the Egyptians worshiped. The plagues were also punishment for rebelling against God.

God has promised that after the rapture, when all the earth’s people who rebel against Him, from kings on down to slaves, they will be punished in wrath for their rejection of Him. (Revelation 6:15-16). At that time He will dethrone not only all false gods, but the false god of all time- satan. God will send to people of the earth plagues that are in like kind to the plagues God sent to Egypt. In Exodus, the plagues occurred just to the Egyptians. Even when the sun was darkened, the Israelites had light inside their own homes. (Exodus 10:23). Even when the Egyptian cattle died, the Israelite cattle lived. (Exodus 9:6). God is that precise.

During this post-rapture time of wrath, called The Tribulation (Or The Time of Jacob’s Trouble, Jeremiah 30:7), all the earth will be affected by these plagues. Everyone. During that time many will come to Christ and be saved, but most of the newly saved believers will be martyred. We read in Revelation, that just as the Hebrews sang the song of Moses in praise to God after their deliverance, the martyred will also sing the Song of Moses. We read this in Revelation 15:2-4

And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,

“Great and amazing are your deeds,
    O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
    O King of the nations!
4 Who will not fear, O Lord,
    and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
    All nations will come
    and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Here is a side by side comparison of the plagues of Egypt with the plagues of the tribulation, in both cases, God’s people were delivered from bondage. Click to enlarge.

Barnes’ Notes explains the parallels between the two circumstances of the singing of the song of Moses, at the commentary of Revelation 15:3,

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God – A song of thanksgiving and praise, such as Moses taught the Hebrew people to sing after their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. See Exodus 15. The meaning here is, not that they would sing that identical song, but that, as Moses taught the people to celebrate their deliverance with an appropriate hymn of praise, the redeemed would celebrate their delivery and redemption in a similar manner. There is an obvious propriety here in referring to the “song of Moses,” because the circumstances are very similar; the occasion of the redemption from that formidable anti-Christian power here referred to, had a strong resemblance to the rescue from Egyptian bondage.

As does Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

song of Moses … and … the Lamb—The New Testament song of the Lamb (that is, the song which the Lamb shall lead, as being “the Captain of our salvation,” just as Moses was leader of the Israelites, the song in which those who conquer through Him [Ro 8:37] shall join, Re 12:11) is the antitype to the triumphant Old Testament song of Moses and the Israelites at the Red Sea (Ex 15:1-21). The Churches of the Old and New Testament are essentially one in their conflicts and triumphs. The two appear joined in this phrase, as they are in the twenty-four elders.

Our pastor preached on the Exodus plagues and the majesty of God this past Sunday. Our pastor has a Spirit-given talent for bringing the listener up to heights to glimpse up close the power and glory of God, which is itself if breathtaking and humbling. One becomes crushed after glimpsing Him through the exposition of scripture in sch a powerful way. After the sermon, I realized that as difficult as it is for me, who is saved, to see God as He really is (through scripture) that the lost people I know will meet Him in their own flesh. How like grass the flesh is! How they will be brought low, to wither as a match against a universal conflagration! When we ‘see’ God, we understand our own position in relation to Him, first as sinner worthy of all punishment, and then gratefully, as adopted sons and daughters of righteousness.

I recommend the sermon, if you have 40 minutes. It’s worth listening to. As for God’s work between the Old Testament and the New, from Egypt to the Tribulation-

But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” (John 5:17)

Exodus and the Glory of God
What is the book of Exodus really about? We covered the heart of the book (with a brief summary of the whole) this week. Exodus is about God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment.

May God and God alone be praised!!

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Psychological impact of the Tribulation: people will literally be scared to death

OVERVIEW OF END TIME PROPHECY

In my essay yesterday about Why We Should Value Prophecy, I laid out some reasons why prophecy is just an important kind of biblical literature as other types of biblical literature, such as Law, History, Poetry, Wisdom, or Gospel. I also laid out some thoughts as to the purpose of prophecy.

By now (in 2016) most of the past prophecies have been fulfilled. There is one prophecy that has not been completely fulfilled however, and that is the bundle of prophecies relating to the time of the end of the end. We are in the end time. We have been in the end time since Jesus ascended, and will be until He returns in glory and judges all things, completes his 1000 year reign on earth, and then dissolves the Universe in a fervent heat and makes all things new. The prophecies remaining to be fulfilled describe all things through the end of Revelation 22, which include the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Millennial Kingdom, Satan Released for the Last Battle, and the New Heavens and New Earth.

I’d said a moment ago that the prophecies relating to the end time have not been completely fulfilled. Many of the prophecies are in a state of being fulfilled, while others are definitely not happening yet. Prophecies relating to the end time describe the symptoms of this long stretch of time between the two comings of Jesus. So while the prophecy of Paul in 2 Timothy 3 are describing general conditions during this wide swathe of time, the specific prophecies of certain events have not occurred. That’s the interesting thing about prophecy. One prophecy can have a dual fulfillment, a far fulfillment, a discrete, one-time fulfillment, or a continual fulfillment.

Since it has been a long while since the last fulfilled prophecy, Jesus’ incarnation, death, and resurrection, people may become lulled into a sense of security and mock the end time prophecies and judgments. Even this is prophesied! Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:3-4,

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. “Where is the promise of His coming?” they will ask. “Ever since our fathers fell asleep, everything continues as it has from the beginning of creation.”

PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT OF THE END TIMES

The nature of sin and the end time are inextricably intertwined. The reason for the prophecies of the end of time are because of sin. Ever since Adam sinned in the Garden and man lost his position of pure fellowship with God, as humans and as a world, we have been in a continual state of devolvement and uncreation. Since the moment Eve bit the fruit and gave some to her husband, who was with her, (Genesis 3:6) all events have been working toward the end of God’s plan. It began with one sin and it will end with all sin.

Sin is the reason for the end time. Because the end time events are about judgment for sin.

We downplay sin. We have respectable sins. We sin and do not repent. As a church we do not regard the spiritual battles with enough fervor. Where is the David tearing his clothes and crying out to God? Where is the city like Nineveh crying out for mercy in sackcloth and ashes from the king down to the lowliest slave? Where are the pray-ers and fast-ers interceding in the battle? Where is the concern for holiness in the church? Not that there aren’t any, but the general trajectory of sin is that it tries with unceasing vigilance to corrupt our hearts and our churches. We already know what unresolved sin does to the human mind of the unsaved person- he is a total slave to it. Their minds are corrupt.

So that is the time of the end. More and more people will be totally corrupted by total sin, and not care.

This will make for an insane society. (Romans 1:28-32, Genesis 6:5, Matthew 24:37). We already see the effects of so much sin on human civilization. It can’t be refuted that civilization of these days has hurtled down the road of libertinism, depravity, murder, and more. Marriage, the first God-given institution, is being dismissed and redefined. Gender itself, a biological absolute from God, is also being corrupted by the doctors’ scalpel and the personal wills of depraved individuals. Life is not valued, ethical restrains are by the wayside, and the age-old cherished values of courage, personal duty, and honor are now old fashioned words, mocked by post-modernists.

And yet today’s depravity and sin-loving condition (Romans 1:32) is nothing, nothing to what is to come.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. (Matthew 15:19).

If all those things are in the heart and come out as we see now, what till the Tribulation be like when there is no restraint at all on mans’ proclivity to seek satan and his evil?! (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

I have tried and failed in past essays to bring to bear the totally depraved and horrific time the Tribulation will be. Because we often cannot or do not understand the nature of sin, we downplay the Tribulation’s evil, ghastly and grotesque condition. However it will be a time when men will simply go mad from what they see.

I’d read somewhere, I’m sorry I forget where, the verse from  Deuteronomy 28:34, a section called The Curses of Disobedience, a number of judgments to come upon the People. The the verse states,

so that you are driven mad by the sights that your eyes see.

Men’s behavior will be so depraved that just looking at what is happening will cause a person to go insane. We don’t even know the half of what sin can do. We haven’t even scratched the surface yet. While the Deuteronomy verse describes an event that has already occurred and passed into history, it mirrors the conditions of the Tribulation. Calvin says of the Deuteronomy verse that,

He adds that there shall be no end to their affliction, until the magnitude of their calamities shall stupefy them.

Matthew Henry says of the verse,

To complete their misery, it is threatened that they should be put quite out of the possession of their minds by all these troubles 

Walvoord says of the verse,

The afflictions mentioned here result from defeat in battle. The military exemptions mentioned in 20:5–7 would be reversed without God’s protection (28:30). Livestock and children would be lost forever (vv. 31–32). Foreign armies would reap the benefit of the farmers’ hard work (v. 33). These devastating losses would produce insanity (v. 34) and painful boils (v. 35; cf. v. 27).

If men’s minds were not able to apprehend the effects of defeat in battle, what of their mental state when actual hell is loosed on earth? When sin reigns? Jesus foretold the following as regards the Tribulation:

  • Men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; (Luke 21:26)
  • And upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; (Luke 21:25, KJV)
  • Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slaved and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17)

The Tribulation period will be a time of extermination. God will exterminate sinners from the world as cockroaches in disgust and fury. Here is one pastor’s description:

Verse 26, “Men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world.”

So we are in the end of the time of the Tribulation when the universe as we know it is being dramatically altered. And first is chaos before there is reconstruction. There’s only one way to deal with all of the things that happen which we went through last time, dismay among nations. The word in the Greek is sunoche and it’s only used one other time in the New Testament, it’s a rare word. It means anguish. It describes a kind of human emotion which is overwhelming and overpowering. It even could be translated severe anxiety. There is…there is a sense of terror and a sense of anxiousness that knows no bounds and no relief. It is compounded by perplexity. The word aporia only here in the New Testament. It’s as if the Holy Spirit uses words that define a time the likes of which has never existed and picks words that are very, very rare for such a rare time. Aporia, perplexity, it simply means confusion in its most severe form. 

Shock is so great that we are told that men are fainting from fear. And fainting is a rather benign way to translate another rare word used no where else in the New Testament, aposuche (?). What that word means is to breathe out or to expire. That’s another word for to die. People will be scared to death. People will be scared to death. People all over the world will die of terror because of what is happening and because what is happening they know will lead to further horrors. (Source)

Even with that, there is no way to describe it. No one would really want to, anyway. We often dwell on the depths of God’s love, knowing that we can’t truly comprehend such eternal, perfect, infinite love. Just so, we cannot really understand sin. It also is boundless, eternal, and utterly incomprehensible to its depths. We think we understand sin. We don’t. The Tribulation pagans and the saved will, because they will see it almost fully. Even then, they will not see what the nature of sin can do to its ends, because Jesus said that if He would not cut short the time, no flesh would be saved at all! (Matthew 24:22-23). Sin destroys utterly.

Prophecy isn’t a sphere of study for the prurient intellectual dabbler. It is a serious sphere given to us by the grace of God so we may answer the question Peter asked. He explained the coming end of time judgments and fulfillment of prophetic promises, and asked his flock the following:

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! (2 Peter 3:11-12)

Peter made the connection between prophecy and holy living. Prophecy isn’t a distant realm of study for future generations to study. It’s present and it informs us in this day and ever day toward our holy pursuits. Knowing what is coming because we have the blessed advantage of peeking into to the future from God’s word, what sort of people are we to be?

My call is to urge us now, me included, to live in purity. Pursue holiness. Repent often, and in sincerity. Witness of Jesus and His truths. We do not want our best friend left behind. We do not want our worst enemy left behind. We praise Jesus for His soon return in glory and wrath, to render justice for sin. We know that is necessary. But we don’t have to ignore the prophecies, we don’t have to diminish the prophecies, we don’t have to be casual about the prophecies.

Keep this in mind: the truth of the last of the last days will be such that men’s brains will figuratively explode with incomprehensibility because of what they see.

Even so, come Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20).

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Slavery, the Bible, and Prophecy

And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls. (Revelation 18:11-13)

This chapter in Revelation depicts the moment in the Great Tribulation that nothing in any part of life, including economics and financial transactions, merchandising, and trade, will even appear to be normal any more. The last bit of the economy will be crushed under the righteous hand of Jesus as He smashes any semblance of business at all. Continue reading “Slavery, the Bible, and Prophecy”

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Left Behind author Tim LaHaye, passes away

Christianity Today reports today that sadly,

Tim LaHaye, the best-selling author best known for the Left Behind series, “graduated to heaven” early this morning after suffering a stroke at age 90. His family announced the news of his passing at a San Diego hospital on his ministry Facebook page.

lahaye chrstianity today
Source

In my early days of Christianity, I read most of the Left Behind series. A lot of people did. Here is an article about the series from earlier in July, before Dr LaHaye’s passing.

End times author breaks down prophecy and fiction

A popular author who helped invigorate pop culture interest in Christian eschatology with the release of the first book in the “Left Behind” series 21 years ago is surprised by the novel’s monumental impact. … Years later, it not only continues to fly off bookshelves, it has been the impetus for at least four apocalyptic-themed Hollywood films.

It’s hard to imagine it’s been 21 years, even though I was not a Christian for 10 of those. The series referred to is a series of fiction books written from the point of view of non-believers living through the rapture, the rise of the antichrist, and the Tribulation. Though in the books, most of the main characters convert to Christianity subsequent to the Rapture. The books’ backdrop is Christian apocalyptic, unlike most of today’s apocalyptic books, TV shows, movies, and video games which present an apocalypse from a secular point of view. The “Left Behind” books present the real apocalypse, though sanitized and fictionalized. Continue reading “Left Behind author Tim LaHaye, passes away”